Archive for July, 2009

Another Cool Find, and I Have a New Favorite Site.

I found a huuuuge antique store here in Norman today, and I spent quite a bit of time in there. As I’ve said before, I could easily spend hundreds of dollars in one of these places, but I’m trying not to totally break our bank account.

In one room, I found some prints that used to hang in my bedroom when I was little. I had forgotten all about them until today. Here’s a more complete set. The ones I found today were the blonde girl and the brunette in the white hat, but when I was little we also had the one of the baby with the pink blanket and the girl with the kitten.

Turns out that the artist’s name is Frances Hook, and these pieces and other similar ones were used in the print ads for Northern toilet paper back in the 60s or 70s (reports vary). They’re adorable. I’m considering buying that set from eBay, but I already spent twenty dollars on the two I found today…don’t know if the husband will agree to me spending more. Plus, I’d have to frame them and…blah. I think I’ll have to pass.

Anyway, when I was searching around for info on the prints, I found this place: Retro Renovation. It does a bang-up job of combining two of my interests: interior design/decorating and old stuff! I’ve already blown half my afternoon looking at stuff there. Pink bathrooms galore!

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We Interrupt this Program…

I’m not going to have internet access tomorrow or Sunday, so I’m not going to be able to finish the Nostalgiathon. Also, in case you couldn’t tell, I’m really just not feeling it this year. Sorry. Thanks for reading, though. Maybe next year will be better.

Nostalgiathon 2009 #5: Old Sitcoms

When I was a kid, I watched a lot of Nick at Nite. I don’t know why. I can’t explain why I liked it so much. I guess because some of the shows made me laugh. Taxi, The Bob Newhart Show, I Love Lucy, The Dick Van Dyke Show– stuff like that. I watched them all.

One show I remember really liking was The Mary Tyler Moore Show. Recently I watched the first four seasons after not having seen it since the mid 90s. It was like watching a completely different show– I like it more now than I did back then. How was I even able to laugh at it all those years ago? Maybe kids understand humor better than we give them credit for.

As for The Bob Newhart Show, I think that’ll be the next show I watch on Hulu. Don’t forget Welcome Back, Kotter. I went crazy for that show when they started running it. And I used to watch The Partridge Family a lot, but I have no desire to revisit that one.

Yes, this post is a total copout. Do I care? No, not at the moment.

Nostalgiathon 2009 #4: With a Little Work, Garfield Can Still Be Funny

So, I loved Garfield as a child. Obviously. (Just look at my tag cloud over there.) It used to be groundbreaking and creative. The TV specials had a lot of charm, too, thanks to Lorenzo Music and his spot-on delivery of Garfield’s snark.

However, the daily Garfield strips haven’t been funny since probably 1989. Don’t deny it. You know it in your heart, and your inner 80s kid knows it too, and weeps at the knowledge.

But thanks to the magic of the internet and people who have a lot of time on their hands, Garfield is making me laugh again.

First, let’s look at Silent Garfield, AKA the removal of Garfield’s dialogue. It turns the strip from lame to amusing and, I daresay, somewhat relatable.

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See? It’s much funnier if Garfield keeps his mouth shut. Also, isn’t it disturbing to think that if you were to visit Jon’s house, this is the sort of thing you would see, since humans can’t hear Garfield talk?

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I have no idea what’s going on in this last one, and that’s what makes it so amusing.

You can see more Silent Garfield here and here.

The modification of Garfield strips has also been taken to another level, Garfield Minus Garfield. When you remove all traces of Garfield from the strips, you often get comedy gold, like this:

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Which is more pathetic? Jon talking to his mute cat, or Jon talking to nobody at all?

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Personally, I vote that talking to nobody at all is more pathetic. At least the cat can still interact with him. Also, when I recall the “Garfield is dead” theory, it starts to get creepy and depressing.

Anyway, another great way to get laughs out of Garfield strips is the Garfield Randomizer. You can easily burn through an hour of your life playing with this thing. Of course, it’ll do you no good if you don’t like surreal, absurd, non-sequitur, dada-ist humor– which, fortunately, I do.

Here are some of the ones I “made”:

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And an honorable mention before I close this post: Garfield: Lost in Translation. It’s Garfield strips with the dialogue translated into Japanese and then back into English. Much more work involved, but it sometimes yields some good results:

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Nostalgiathon 2009 #3: Mazzio’s Pizza

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I have some good memories of this regional pizza chain. Sometime in 1989, we moved from our old house into a very 1970s mobile home on the north side of town. We were on a corner lot, right by a major street, and directly across from our house was a Mazzio’s.

What made it even better was that up until the last few years, most Mazzio’s locations had at least a couple of arcade machines, or sometimes pinball machines. Also, you could buy these plastic cups from them, and you could refill them for a quarter. I cherished that pink plastic cup and its straw that made a whistling noise when you blew air through it, and on many a summer day, I would walk over to Mazzio’s and fill it up with every soda on the fountain, all mixed together. Video games, soda, and pizza– what more could a kid want?

I also liked their quirky decor– they used to have all kinds of vintage-style trinkets everywhere, and a lot of posters that had a 40s-50s feel to them. Now the stores look like this…

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…and the interiors are much more generic, aka “modern”. And like I said before, they don’t have games anymore. So going to Mazzio’s just isn’t the same– except for the pizza, which is relatively unchanged.

(I’m sneaking this post in at the last minute! It’s not midnight here yet!)

Nostalgiathon 2009 #2: I Was a Nintendo Kid

Today, I am going to blather on about the NES! How original.

Ah, that electronic fun machine. How I loved it. My first experience with the NES was when I was about five or six. The game? Mario Bros., what else? I couldn’t play worth a damn at the time, but I was fascinated by it.

Later on, my parents made friends with this couple that had two kids, Michael and Ashley, and we would go to their house out in the country a lot. They had an NES, and the kids and I would play video games together (we also had lots of adventures outside). That was the place where I got my Nintendo fix until I received an NES Power Pack for my 7th birthday in 1990.

I didn’t have a lot of friends in the second grade (or any other grade, for that matter), and I don’t think I helped that situation any by being a little girl who liked video games. When I’d try to join my classmates’ heated discussions about whether or not Sega was better than Nintendo, all the boys would usually just look at me funny and go on talking amongst themselves. (By the way, I would trash talk Sega at every opportunity even though I never touched one until sometime in 1999 or so.)

Also, when playing Mario Bros. with Michael or any other kid, we could never agree who got to be player 1 or player 2, so eventually video games became a pretty solitary activity for me.

Well, now that I’ve bored everybody to death, I’ll move on to actually talking about some NES games.

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There’s our little collection. And yes, we have a top-loading NES– a real one made by Nintendo. It’s great.

I didn’t own that many games when I was a kid; didn’t really need to because renting games was cheap and easy. Almost every week, we’d go to the mom-and-pop video store and I’d go look lovingly at the long wall of NES games.

One of the games I rented frequently was Mickey Mousecapade, which I recently bought a copy of. I rented it so much because hey, it was a Disney game, and because no matter how hard I tried, I could not get past the second level! Also, Minnie is retarded and always gets in the way, and that makes the game a lot more challenging. Eventually I got sick of it and started playing other games instead, but I always secretly liked it even when I was mad at it.

The first game I ever actually beat was the tie-in game for Disney’s The Little Mermaid. I was obsessed with that movie at the time, which is probably how I was able to beat the game– sheer obsession and determination. It certainly wasn’t because I was good at video games. Anyway, I’ll never forget how I felt when I finally made it all the way to Ursula and defeated her. I don’t think I ever beat another NES game, actually.

Nostalgiathon 2009 #1: Thrift Store Finds

I’ve mentioned before that here in Norman, finding cool 80s stuff is kind of difficult. Today, I went and hit a couple of thrift stores, not really expecting to find anything, but I did!

First, I went to the local Salvation Army store. Toys rarely turn up here; I don’t know if they even accept them anymore. They mostly have a lot of clothes, random knick-knacks and especially 1970s furniture, which is kind of neat in its own way, but it’s difficult to collect furniture. (However, I did buy my dinette set there!)

A while back, I did find something cool here, but I couldn’t buy it because I didn’t have 20 bucks at the time– a Betamax machine! It was huge and hefty, a real relic. I wanted it just for the novelty of owning one, but even if I’d had the 20 dollars, I doubt that I actually would have purchased it, since I have become something of a practical person. I only have so much space, and I only have one Beta tape anyway (which I also bought simply for the novelty factor). Still, it’s kind of sad that I couldn’t get it.

Anyway. After leaving there empty-handed, I decided to go hit another store on the other side of town: Outreach Thrift Store. I used to go there frequently to look for clothes, dishes, sheet sets, stuff like that, but I hadn’t gone there for quite some time. It’s a nice place and things are generally pretty clean and organized. Until today, I had never scored any old stuff there except for maybe a couple of children’s books.

I went through some clothes, didn’t really find anything that caught my eye, so I went over to the books, and didn’t see anything there either. Then I spied a big pile of plushies and stuffed animals. I didn’t expect to find anything, so I was only halfway looking at them. I found a cute stuffed rabbit, so I picked it up to look it over and in doing so, unearthed a treasure: ANOTHER VINTAGE CARE BEAR!

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It’s Cheer Bear, which I also own a non-vintage version of. She’s in very nice shape and cost me two dollars– a teensy bit pricey for this sort of thing but definitely not unreasonable. I tucked her under my arm and went over to the little room near the back of the store where they keep the housewares.

I don’t really remember what I was looking for in here; I think I was just browsing for the sake of browsing and enjoying the air conditioning. Then it jumped out at me: a glass Garfield mug!

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McDonald’s sold these in the 80s, and I found one a few years back, but the shop wanted too much money for it. I wasn’t going to pass up this sucker, because they were selling it for 29 fucking cents! 29 cents barely gets you anything of value anymore, but today, it got me a damned Garfield mug! I looked to see if there were any more; sadly, there were not. But still, what a great find!

I also bought an old blender. Yeah, I know, not my usual fare. It’s an Osterizer Galaxie, one of those things that used to be in everyone’s kitchen back in the 70s and 80s.

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I needed a blender, and they said this one works fine, so I figured, what the hell?

After killing about an hour searching the web for info about these babies, I decided to try it out by tossing in some ice cubes and water. The results? Not bad for an appliance that’s probably older than I am. The thing certainly isn’t quiet, but it blends, and it even kinda smashed up the ice cubes. Plus, it has vintage charm, and best of all, it only cost me six dollars. I call it a win.